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MINI Cooper, Hatchback
#788 of 2671 We finally did it!
Jul 01, 2002 (6:22 am)
Well this weekend my wife and I decided to "Bite the Bullet" and formally placed an order for a new 2002 or 2003 MINI Cooper Base model. Depending upon on the remaining slots available for the end of the 2002 production year, which ends in August, we might get a new '02 with a delivery date of late September or if these production slots are no longer available in the waiting list, then we will get a new 2003 Cooper with a September build date to be delivered in late October. Anyway we look at it, waiting times for the base model are indeed shrinking. If you want a Cooper 'S' however, wating times still average between 10 to 12 months, according to our dealer.
Our dealer doesn't yet know what MSRP price hikes and other changes will be added in the '03 models. They'll get this information in August. If we end up getting a new '03 I hope the price increase is not more than $500 over the '02's and that a center front armrest console is included as standard equipment. We shall see.
We test drove a Base CVT model and came away impressed. We had never driven a CVT transmission equipped car before. The engine feels very strong from the get go and the transmission performance and shift quality is truly outstanding...needless to say we were sold on it! The "6 speed" Steptronic mode makes up somewhat for the lack of the clutch pedal. The tranny behaves exactly as if you were driving a stick shift car, minus the clutch pedal. Very entertaining for the side of me that misses meshing my own gears from time to time, yet pleases the wife with a seamless and responsive tranny. Rickrover, give it a try... I suspect you will come away equally impressed!
I really liked the multifuction steering wheel. Worth very penny of it. Nice grip from the leather covered steering wheel and great ergonomics to operate the basic radio controls from the wheel. A must in this car. The radio is mounted very low in the center stack and even the tiny buttons make it difficult to safely change stations, change CD tracks or even change volume settings without taking your eyes off the road. When are the Germans going to learn to apply common sense ergonomics into their car stereos??
Anyway, either way we go, we'll be pretty happy. We liked the rear seat room and comfort. Not bad at all. We were expecting a pretty cramped car but the exterior dimensions don't tell the whole story about the very efficient interior packing engineered into these car. The trunk is tiny, but for carry grocery bags should be more than enough.
Here is a summary of what we ordered:
Solid Pepper white exterior paint finish with black roof and rear view exterior mirror caps.
CVT automatic transmission
Multifunction steering wheel with Cruise Control
Standard black leatherette seats. (We were debating going to cloth seats instead, but our other car already has cloth seats, so better to change a bit the tone).
Silver interior door panels.
That's it. Pretty much a basic car, but really, really nice. We are very excited...can't wait!
Originally we were thinking of going with the Red Velvet Metallic exterior paint color with the white roof and mirrors. The dealer had a demo colored this way. The car looks beautiful, but found the Velvet Red is darker than we originally tought. We live in a very hot climate and dark colors are not very encouraged upon. Also they are harder to keep clean, etc. Plus, if we had gone with Velvet Red we would had to pay $400 extra for the metallic paint option.
I was prepared to hate the White Pepper color as it looks awful in the website and barely OK in pictures. In person, however, this color is stunning specially the the black contrasting roof. The white pepper scheme is a "Cream" color. Pictures don't do enough justice to this color at all. In fact when shopping for a MINI I suggest going with an open mind in regards to the exterior colors. When you see the cars in person it is totally different from what you see in the brochure or the MINIUSA.COM website.
#789 of 2671 drivinisfun
Jul 01, 2002 (8:24 am)
Congrats! With the discussion on the pepper white, I have been very curious to see one, but haven't yet. I can imagine that the cream color with the black roof/mirrors looks great. You say it's "pretty much a basic car," but as I am sure you know even the base model comes with all the toys you could ask for and then some. You really can't go wrong. I assume you got the 15" wheels - which style did you go for, the circle design or the spokes? If you get the '03, it will be interesting to see if they add a center console/armrest. It's my only real gripe about this year's model.
#790 of 2671 Drivin' Calm Down Son
Jul 01, 2002 (11:37 am)
I'm not dissing the car,if it's being built under the auspices of BMW.However, I wouldn't buy a Chrysler product unless Mercedes made it ,or the parts were 95% Dahmler Benz.
My wife has a BMW 528 and I drive an Acura Type S. I worry about quality and so far the previous British Autos with their boots and bonnets haven't impressed me.
So what's a basic car? Is this a car to go to market with? Enjoy your new wheels.
#791 of 2671 Market Adjust
Jul 01, 2002 (2:17 pm)
I've only been on this list for a few weeks and enjoyed reading the speculation in the beginning and your thoughts after ownership.
We finally got the Brecht Mini dealership finished near San Diego and I took a very long lunch to drive to the new store. There must have been 30 BMW salesmen from the main store with the Mini guys getting a customer service and philosophy briefing in-mass. I could see some demo models in front and on the showroom, plus another 12 or so around back. This was looking great so far. I hadn't been able to see how long their list was since they only had a recording during the building construction. I'm here, and I have the time to just mill around and kick tires, looking under the hood and then I found the "marketing adjustment" sticker. I should have pre-dialed 911 on my cell phone and had my finger on the send button. I almost had a heart attack, and not a single salesman to help revive me on the show room floor, is that a first?
So now I'm not as happy as I was on the drive to the store. After reading about so many dealers that were not adjusting over MSRP and now to find them 7-9k over, this has turned into a tragedy for me. I'd like to buy locally to start a relationship with THE dealer, this means waiting a year perhaps for this part of the industry to level off a bit.
#792 of 2671 Japanese stereo, not German
Jul 02, 2002 (3:07 am)
It is an Alpine head unit in the base stereo so don't blame German design for the small controls! I find with time, they become easy to use without looking. I just put my right wrist on the shift knob and the controls are right there.
Jul 02, 2002 (3:08 am)
Unbelievable! Go somewhere else. If no one buys from those thieves, perhaps they will learn their lesson. Send an email to MINI USA and MINI head office if you can.
#794 of 2671 to vor503rf ...
Jul 02, 2002 (4:27 am)
While it's obvious from my earlier postings that I absolutely love the MINI, I would never, I mean NEVER shell out $7-9K over MSRP. While these cars may not depreciate as fast as other cars, they certainly won't hold that kind of value. Talk about upside-down!
Anyway, if you are serious about buying a MINI, I have an idea for you. If you have some vacation time coming to you, plan a road trip. Find a dealer that will charge MSRP without required add-ons. You can spec the car over the phone, fly to wherever the dealer is and drive it home. For the cost of a plane ticket and some gas, you avoid premium pricing and get some adventure in your new wheels.
Just a thought.
Jul 02, 2002 (5:04 am)
Remember when the VW New Beetle came out, and there was a waiting list, and people were paying over MSRP for them? Well, a few years down the road you couldn't move around VW lots for all the Beetles sitting out there. Patience may be the key.
Jul 02, 2002 (5:09 am)
Patience is definitely the answer. Since there are no dealers in my state, patience is the ONLY answer Some dealers from out of state are willing to sell cars to non-locals, others aren't - you need to call around and check before traveling. Several months back, I was in D.C. visiting friends and went to MINI of Sterling (VA). The GM there said she would not sell me a car because I was "out of her area". Go figure.
#797 of 2671 There'll be markups for a while
Jul 02, 2002 (7:36 am)
and then the price will be driven down to maybe MSRP or below. Patience is the key.
The MINI is a great NYC car due to it's size. I saw one squeezed into a tight space (between a crosswalk and a Cadillac Escalade).